Key suspect in prostitution case surrenders
THE LICENCE holder of Victoria’s: The Secret Forever massage parlour, which is at the centre of human-trafficking allegations, turned herself in to police yesterday to rebut 13 charges against her.
Sasithorn Wirathepsuporn, a major shareholder in the business on paper but probably a nominee owner according to inside sources, showed up with her lawyer at the National Police Office at 4.40pm yesterday.
“She has denied all the charges,” Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said, adding that police would object to her bail request and investigate her financial transactions. Srivara said Sasithorn, 45, was found to have co-founded about 10 companies that engaged in the same business as Amarin Onsen, which is the only legal entity implicated in the Victoria’s: The Secret Forever massage parlour scandal.
Sasithorn’s surrender took place after the Criminal Court approved arrest warrants for her, Amarin Onsen and six other suspects. All suspects except Sasithorn have been arrested since the Department of Special Investigation and the military raided the massage parlour last Friday.
Evidence received so far suggests that the eight suspects may have violated several laws, police said, and that the massage parlour had probably engaged in prostitution, including the involvement of underage sex workers.
“Preliminary tests show at least 11 girls found at the massage parlour are under 18 years old. We will double check with MRI tests,” said Pol Lt-General Dr Vitoon Nitivarangkul from the Police Hospital. The eight suspects in the case are facing more than 10 charges, including prostitution and human trafficking. Srivara explained that the suspects did not include any police officers, despite recent news reports suggesting that officials had used sexual services at the massage parlour free of charge.
“We have to wait for some documentary evidence from the DSI first,” Srivara said. “At this point, we don’t have either a list of customers or recordings from its CCTV system.” Following the raid, five senior police officers at Wang Thong Lang Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the area where the massage parlour operated, were transferred. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday said he had already made clear that allegations against the police officers needed to be thoroughly investigated. “The implicated officials will face punishment if the allegations against them are proven,” he said.
He added that other massage parlours should abstain from prostitution and human trafficking or they would also face prosecution. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Lt-General Chanthep Sesavej said he had already set up a committee to investigate the five policemen implicated. “I have given the committee 30 days to complete its probe,” he said.
Meanwhile, People’s Network for Police Reform coordinator Somsri Han-anantasuk submitted a petition to Prayut asking him to take action against Chanthep and other senior policemen who oversaw Wang Thong Lang Police Station. “They were apparently negligent,” she said. The raid had uncovered evidence that suggested about 100 policemen might have used the services at the parlour, Somsri said. Somsri said she suspected that illegal businesses could operate because state officials received bribes and that a good precedent would be set if Prayut harshly punished Chanthep and supervisors of Wang Thong Lang Police Station.